PESHAWAR: The business community here on Friday termed the federal budget for the fiscal year 2021-22 as ‘balanced’, ‘growth-oriented and ‘pro business’ asking the government to implement ‘relief initiatives’ in letter and spirit to revive the Covid-19 ravaged national economy.
Addressing a news conference after presentation of the budget, Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) President Sherbaz Bilour said that the government had presented a budget that could boost businesses and industrialisation, and create jobs in the country.
He welcomed the abolishment of Federal Excise Duty (FED) from erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Provincial Administrative Tribal Areas (PATA).
The SCCI chief expressed the hope that the government’s step will bring economic prosperity and development to the newly merged tribal districts.
SCCI Vice President Junaid Altaf, former Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) President Ghazanfar Bilour, former presidents Malik Niaz Ahmad, Faiz Muhammad Faizi, Riaz Arshad, executive members Muhammad Aurangzeb among others, traders and industrialists were present during the presser.
Sherbaz Bilour hailed the reduction in excise duties, including on raw materials, which was a welcome step through the fiscal budget.
The SCCI president said that the initiatives to boost hydel power generation, abolishment of tax on online businesses, increase in loans for cottage industries from Rs3 million to Rs10 million are good measures to accelerate the pace of economic development.
The chamber president also appreciated the abolishment of 12 different withholding taxes (WHTs).
Similarly, he added that the abolishment of the condition for up-gradation of tax profile was also a good step.
While responding to a question of reporters, Sherbaz Bilour said that the federal government was being unjust with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) in past years regarding payment of amounts in net hydel profit (NHP) along with arrears.
He went on to say that KP was producing the cheapest electricity despite the fact that the federal government was charging electricity at higher rates, which was completely unjust with the people of the KP province. He further asked the federal government to review its policy and ensure payments of NHP amounts along with arrears without any further delay.